As I walked into the foyer of the synagogue on Saturday morning, I was greeted by a posterboard bearing the names and faces of the 11 innocent Jewish souls murdered last week in Pittsburgh.
Worshippers attend a “Show Up For Shabbat” service at JCC Harlem following last Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, in Pittsburgh, in Manhattan, New York, November 3, 2018. (photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)
TEANECK, New Jersey – For as long as I can remember, there have been security guards posted both inside and outside my parents’ synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey. They’re a fixture of Shabbat – a sight as expected as men in tallitot walking into the sanctuary and small children dashing through the hallways.
But walking past those men and women this Saturday morning was a stark and gut-wrenching reminder of the events of last weekend. And it was a painful and depressing indication of the need to provide protection to American Jews while they worship. I have never encountered security while attending services in Jerusalem; but it is always more than likely that several congregants are armed. In Israel, Jews gathered anywhere at any time are a target for terrorist murderers. In the United States, a madman violated the sanctity of a synagogue to target Jewish people in the most cruel and heartbreaking way imaginable.
As I walked into the foyer of the synagogue on Saturday morning, I was greeted by a posterboard bearing the names and faces of the 11 innocent Jewish souls murdered last week in Pittsburgh. Just beyond that was another board, featuring the smiling face of a bar mitzvah boy celebrating a milestone birthday this weekend.
In even the darkest periods of mourning, Jewish life goes on. And inside that sanctuary, joy and pain mingled during the first Shabbat morning services since the deadliest attack on the American Jewish community in memory.
As a police car blocked the entrance to the synagogue’s parking lot, little girls handed out candy bags to congregants to lob at the bar mitzvah boy. As the 13-year-old recited his Torah portion, a volunteer guard patrolled the perimeter of the building. And as the rabbi finished his sermon, the mayor of Teaneck – Mohammed Hameeduddin – showed up to send a silent message of support. At times it was standing-room only in the 600-seat sanctuary at just one of the three services held in the building that morning.
ACROSS THE United States on Saturday, many Jews returned to synagogues for the first time since a monster opened fire in a synagogue in Pittsburgh murdering 11 Jews while they were praying. Around the country, many of those who aren’t regular attendees showed up as a sign of solidarity with the Tree of Life Synagogue and with the American Jewish community as a whole. The American Jewish Committee started the campaign #ShowUpforShabbat, urging people to join services somewhere this weekend. The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey called for a “Solidarity Shabbat” _ and 80 Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Chabad synagogues signed on. The Brandeis University Hillel invited the entire community to Friday night services and dinner. The president of the Prospect Heights Shul in Brooklyn called on community members to wear a tallit on the street as they walked to synagogue. In Los Angeles, Jewish Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke at an interfaith event at a temple in the city on Friday evening.
I asked friends and family around the US about their experiences on Shabbat – both those who normally attend synagogue and others who chose specifically to turn up this week.
What they described paints a picture of a Jewish community shaken, but resolute. Synagogues across the United States – already concerned with security – are on even higher alert.
For the past week, the American Jewish community – and in many ways, the global Jewish community – mourned and grieved this terrible loss. But it also steeled itself and prepared for this weekend, refusing to back down in the face of violent hate. Thousands of synagogues, Jewish centers and schools alerted their members throughout the week about extra security protection and measures being taken. Rabbis of all denominations penned sermons trying to make some sense of such a senseless loss, and offer solace and strength to congregants. Lay leaders volunteered to coordinate with city officials and police departments to offer a sense of security to a rattled community.
It is 2018, and Jews in the United States are praying to God behind locked doors and armed guards. But they will keep praying.
We all know that the midterm elections are different this time around. They are usually like “all politics,” namely local. But this time around they’re different. They are all presidential, all about Trump, as most everything is. And for the anti-Trump crowd — I’m talking about the political commentators and “analysts” — any and all things bad are held to be Trump’s fault. This is presumably because they believe that their condemnations of Trump will result in a Democrat takeover of the House of Representatives.
A new book explores how graffiti artists in Beirut skirt limitations on expression to share political criticism in the streets.
A photograph of the book “Drawing Lines” by Tamara Zantout, taken at the launch of the book at Beit Beirut cultural center, Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 25, 2018.
BEIRUT — Beirut’s alleyways and streets are peppered in bright, detailed and provocative graffiti. Street artists use the medium, which exists in a legal grey area, to express their identity and give voice to political frustrations.
On Tuesday, San Francisco will become the largest city in the nation to allow noncitizens to vote, and the city has spent $310,000 on a “new registration system” specifically aimed at illegals. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the plan is the first in the state and follows Proposition N, a 2016 ballot measure allowing votes by noncitizens over the age of 18, reside in the city, and have children under age 19.
By the count of the Chronicle, only 49 noncitizens have signed up to vote on Tuesday, which works out to $6,326 for every illegal voter, but there’s more to the story. City officials are worried that voting could expose illegals to ICE, who might come looking and possibly deport somebody. So supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a backer of Proposition N, urged the city to spend $500,000 to warn the illegals.
At first Sabbath service after massacre, shooting survivors are blessed; rabbi says to those who condemned Trump’s visit: ‘No one tells me how to welcome a guest in my own home’
On November 3, 2018, a joint communal Shabbat prayer service at Pittsburgh’s Beth Shalom Conservative synagogue following the massacre a week prior which saw 11 Jewish community members killed. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — A week after an anti-Semitic shooter massacred 11 worshipers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the community embraced each other in prayer on Saturday.
IS EUROPE RETURNING to the horrors of the 1930s? In an assessment typical of the moment, Max Holleran writes in the New Republic that “in the past ten years, new right-wing political movements have brought together coalitions of Neo-Nazis with mainstream free-market conservatives, normalizing political ideologies that in the past rightly caused alarm.” He sees this trend creating a surge in “xenophobic populism.” Writing in Politico, Katy O’Donnell agrees: “Nationalist parties now have a toehold everywhere from Italy to Finland, raising fears the continent is backpedaling toward the kinds of policies that led to catastrophe in the first half of the 20th century.” Jewish leaders like Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association, sense “a very real threat from populist movements across Europe.”
IS EUROPE RETURNING to the horrors of the 1930s? In an assessment typical of the moment, Max Holleran writes in the New Republic that “in the past ten years, new right-wing political movements have brought together coalitions of Neo-Nazis with mainstream free-market conservatives, normalizing political ideologies that in the past rightly caused alarm.”
We’ve been told for a long time that the ceasefire is on the way. It had many names in the past, such as tahdiah, hudna, and most recently—”an arrangement.” On Friday, once again, reports started emerging that an agreement has been reached. Several hours later, southern Israel was hit with a barrage of rockets. What happened?
And He said, “You will not be able to see My face, for No Human Being shall see Me and live.” — Shemot 33:20
Faith is deeper than knowledge. While scientific data is absorbed only in the brain, faith permeates all parts of the human personality. Nothing is untouched, all spiritual limbs quiver, and everything is transformed. It is thus more difficult to acquire faith than knowledge, and faith has a more radical effect on the human being.
A Catholic archbishop recently touched on an unspoken but highly subversive phenomenon: How anti-Christian forces exploit Christian teachings to empower those who seek to dismantle Christian civilization, Muslims being chief among them.
In an interview published last summer by the Italian outlet IlGionarle.it, Catholic Archbishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan said:
The King of Jordan, not some lowly clerk, announced that Jordan will not extend the currently existing leases renting two parcels of land to Israel. One is the so-called Island of Peace in the northern Naharayim area and the other located in the southern Arava, near Tzofar, an agricultural cooperative village (moshav). Jordan was entirely within its rights to decide not to renew the leases